AMNRL Round 1 – Interviews

By Daniel Andruczyk

I was able to catch up with some of the players and coaches after the matches and did some quick interviews to share with you here. First up is Joel Venables from the New York Northern Raiders.

Rugby League International Scores: Joel Venables is Coach and Captain of the New York Northern Raiders. Joel that was a tough game. The first half they (Sharks) seemed to get on top of you but in the second half only two tries at the beginning and at the end You guys really muscled up.

Joel: Yeah they had a really good start. That is part of the problem with a first game with new boys together. We got a new American Wesley Alovili and Tristan. All the boys had a good game overall. We came to the Sharks  expecting a battle and we though we could take them and we’ll probably have to wait till the next time they come to us.

RLIS: There were some huge hits. You could really here it even from the other side. Good to see, first game back and everyone is really getting into it.

JV: This is probably the best Raiders season, or pre season we’ve had. We expected more, we really wanted to come here and win so disappointed in that sense. But I am really happy with the boys that came out. We have a whole new group of boys to come out, an Australian and Americans, basically happy with it all… well not happy with the loss but anyway.

Next I was able to get a few words with Phil Shipos and Steve Thompson from the Bucks County Sharks.

Rugby League International Scores: Bucks County had a Fantastic Win today. Phil How was that?

Phil Shipos: Yeah It was fantastic, was great to see the boys out here, we probably had about 10 kids who never played Rugby League in their lives, so it was great to see them out here and their enthusiasm and their will to want to play the game and their effort. It was great stuff, it was a great way for the Sharks to get back out here in the AMNRL.

RLIS: A lot of big hits out there Tomo, you could really here them from the other side.

Steve Thompson: Yeah, it was a pretty physical game, the Raiders have improved so much from last year, Joel has taken them in the right way and bots are physical. All the boys aimed up well we never have the biggest side down here but we have that little bit of attitude so it counts out here.

RLIS: I counted five times you got over the line and were rolled over and held up or knocked on, dropped the ball as you put it down

PS: (Phil laughing) haha yeah one of those my buddy Tomo over here had one, two so, but were were happy with the effort we kept them shut out for the second half, so our defence was really good and we’re only get better as the season goes on, our fitness will improve. So it was good a good day for the sharks.

RLIS: Phil I hear that you have a new club, a new ground that you will be playing out of this season, well from next week on wards?

PS: Absolutely, its called the Phoenix Club, its in Feasterville Pennsylvania you can look it up, there is onsite facilities, dressing rooms, shower bar, fantastic facility. They had an event there today so we couldn’t use the field but that is going to be our home starting from next weekend on.

RLIS: Fantastic so we might see some future 9s events or something there?

PS: Well we’ve thrown it out there to anyone that our fields available to have a game of footy over there, so we’ll be more than happy to host anyone.

RLIS: Tomo, how do you see the rest of the season with the team, they certainly were impressive today, very physical, lots of skill there, How do you think you’ll go the rest of the season?

ST: Well go OK, we’ll work on the small mistakes and things that killed us. Some knock-on’s, some of the lads are still in Union mode  and trying to recycle the ball. Especially young Jim who’s coming in from the High School Rugby Union team and he didn’t look out of place at all, so the future is looking bright.

Next I hightailed it over to Drexell Hill… its a bit of a misnomer in Philadelphia even on a Saturday the traffic is tortuous and a trip that should maybe take 30-40 minutes lasted well over 70 minutes. But I saw the game and was able to get some comments from the Wildcats coach for the day Drew Dugan.

Rugby League International Scores: Drew, what an amazing game! You were 10 down with 5 minutes to go… 16 down with 8 mins to go… and you guys clawed it back. That last try was amazing.

Drew Dugan: It was good stuff. It was the three Australian Boys who have come over this year, two of them from France and one from Newcastle, they all linked up on all three of those try’s, and they got one each, it was a really good effort.

RLIS: I had a chance to get up the top there and see the game as a whole, it looked like both teams, the way they were setting themselves looked very professional. How long have you been training in the off season getting ready for this game?

DD: Its tough over here because the Rugby Union season runs in the Fall and Spring, so its hard to get the training up early. We’ve only had 2 weeks worth of training sessions and two of the Aussie Boys got here for one weeks worth, but everyone has a good base of fitness from their Rugby Union season they just have to come in and get used to the little Rules changes in rugby league. But structure wise that all we rally did for the two weeks. We got everyone learning their positions and fill in the gabs when they need to be.

RLIS: Well it seemed to work. now earlier in the second half you had a player get injured and the ambulance had to be called. Do you have any more information? Have you heard any more on that?

DD: No, so he’s been taken to the hospital just a mile down the road with a pretty serious concussion and he had a seizure, not a pretty site, not what you want to see on the field but he’s had a troupble with injuries in the past so I think it might pull the pin on his Rugby League career, so fingers crossed he’s OK.

I was able to talk to the New York Knight Manager, Chris Doyle as well about the game.

Rugby League International Scores: Chris what an shock, you were up by 16 points with 8 minutes to go and they just stormed back to clinch it right on the bell there?

Chris Doyle: Yeah, they came back. They had a player injured, we had an ambulance on the field and after that they basically muscled up and we dropped off. Our defence fell to pieces and we  didn’t secure the ball, made some silly mistakes and they got back into the game.

RLIS: Now I was looking at the game from up to there and one thing I noticed was really nice lines both teams were running. Both teams seemed to really know what they were meant to do in terms of playing. Can you comments on the pre-season preparation you have been doing?

CD: That’s something that we work on a lot, on our lines , and it did work as was planned  today, but as you can imagine it also worked well for them and had some good decoy runners and had another guys hitting the line strong which caused us a lot of trouble and thats pretty much how they came over the top of us in the end.

RLIS: Can you comment on what its like to have to travel something like three hours from New York to Philadelphia to play a game like this?

CD: Its part of the adventure, we don’t mind. Its good to travel outside of New York, come down to Philly, we have been doing it for years. Its a good trip for the guys, we all enjoy it. We have two vans full of players and fans to come today. Its a good day … apart from the result (laughs).


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